The Great Conjunction: Jupiter and Saturn align closest in 800 Years

Our universe is full of surprises, and the Great Conjunction is just one of them. This amazing astronomic event will take place in about two weeks on December 21st, about an hour after sunset. So, set a reminder in your calendar app, and don’t miss this exceptionally rare occurrence!

What Is the Great Conjunction?

The Great Conjunction is an astronomic event where Jupiter and Saturn align. From Earth, this occurrence makes the planets look like a big, super-bright planet we can appreciate. It’s a breathtaking sight and it’s the perfect holiday present — from space to us!

Jupiter and Saturn are two of the largest planets in our solar system and they get close to each other every 20 years. This means that the Great Conjunction is not unusual, but it’s still a rare occurrence. It’s also worth noting that when it happens, it’s not always visible. This means we’re getting a real treat, which is much appreciated considering the tough year 2020 has been.

This year’s Great Conjunction is exceptional because it will bring these planets as close as they have gotten since the year 1623. This means Jupiter and Saturn haven’t kissed in the sky like this in 800 years, so it’s definitely a special event that’s worth watching.

Great Conjunctions have always garnered attention, ever since the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, where it was a topic many astronomers discussed and thought about. This incredible astronomic event is even mentioned by the likes of Shakespeare and Dante in their works.

What Will You See During the Great Conjunction?

During the Great Conjunction, you will be able to see Jupiter and Saturn coming as close as they have been in 800 years. As mentioned before, it will look to us like one huge, bright planet. Additionally, we may be able to appreciate Saturn’s beautiful rings, as well as its giant moon Titan, and Jupiter’s Galilean moons, called Ganymede, Callisto, Io, and Europa.

How to Not Miss the Great Conjunction

On Monday, December 21st, 2020, you want to have access to the western sky right after sunset. The Great Conjunction will occur around an hour after sunset, so we recommend you find a good spot where you can enjoy the sunset and stick around to see a bright point of light show up.

You can use a 50x eyepiece on a small telescope or a pair of binoculars to see more clearly without an issue. And if you want to take pictures, you’ll likely need a 200mm lens to capture this beautiful astronomic event. Keep in mind, this alignment won’t happen again until March 15, 2080, and Jupiter and Saturn probably won’t come as close as this for a long while.

If you enjoy stargazing and planetary phenomenon such as this, set up a reminder on your calendar app, and don’t miss this rare sight. Remember, it’s not always visible, so this is a great opportunity to enjoy it. Bring your friends and family with you so you can experience this wonder together!

Featured photo of Milky Way by Hristo Fidanov from Pexels

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